Friday, October 03, 2008

Shreveport Symphony Orchestra players vote to strike, says the Times; Orchestra Players United, Opus, offers a concert on Su, Oct 11, at First Baptist

Shreveport's orchestra musicians, worn out by a protracted battle with the Shreveport Symphony board, mutely went into strike mode on Thursday, says the Shreveport Times.

Meanwhile, an alternative symphony is being birthed by the musicians. On Sun, Oct 11, the Opus (Orchestra Players United of Shreveport-Bossier) organization will present a full orchestra concert at First Baptist Church. The performance has been billed as a benefit for hurricane relief in NW La.

The board's attitude seems to be "The money simply isn't there." The musicians' attitude seems to be "You have not effectively searched for the money." Nor has anyone stepped forward to offer the funds or a viable plan to generate orchestra-saving support.

Shreveport's ability to survive and be productive can be measured by the way we approach this phase of the struggle. Instead of antagonistic press releases and a replay of the vituperative remarks anonymously posted on web sites, I propose a change.

A public presentation - online or on TV or radio - of each side's position, followed by mediators' analyses, would be a helpful next step. It would be a bit like a presidential debate. One of the mediators' roles would be to tell the audience what has happened to orchestras in similar circumstances.

At the end of the presentations, however, must come a pitch for money.
Is there any effective way to rebuild the fund that will support a Shreveport-Bossier orchestra?


Anonymous said...

This is what happens when a city is mostly "new" money, vs. a city that has "old" money. "New" money just does not see the importance of the arts.
This is not "online insulting," but rather a hard, cold fact.

(No, I am not a musician, or a family member of a musician.)

Anonymous said...

You are completely right. Throw an "event" where these people can dress in a gown, see and be seen, talk about LSU football, etc. and they pack the place. Ask them to support the cultural life of this city with their checkbooks and they're nowhere to be seen. For a city this size to have a Symphony, an Opera company, a professional theater, dance extraordinary. However, if people don't start supporting and paying these artists so they can reside here and make a decent living then all that will be left is people dressed in purple and gold talking about how North Louisiana DOES have a Mardi Gras!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if now, the musicians are reconsidering the support they thought that they had in the community.
When only 300-350 people showed up at their concert at the Baptist church they surely got a better picture of the real world--not the one in which they thought they lived.
This is surely a sad day for the Shreveport Symphony, the musicians and the city of Shreveport.
What next? I hope that the musicians now understand that striking is not going to help the situation and they need to go back to work with the Shreveport Symphony to allow the board to implement its new business plan for growth.